Monday, November 13, 2006

These pictures say so much...






I took these pictures (with the exception of Brock at Spartan stadium for a football game) a few days ago. We finally had a sunny, dry autumn afternoon where the kids could play outdoors and jump in a pile of leaves and simply enjoy the moment.
It's times like these that I see how forunate I am and how much I truly appreciate my simple life. Some of you know how I had my own plans and dreams out of college, and early on when I was dating Chip, that didn't include kids. True. I decided after years of babysitting and waiting tables that I didn't want kids of my own. I was going to go after success- thinking somehow everyone in the business world must be right- that to have big cars, homes, boats, the latest fashions, furniture, jewelry...all that kind of stuff, must make you happy. I figured that so many 'successful people' must have all the answers. I couldn't wait to get going in a career that would allow me the chance at all this stuff. That's what was behind my decision to keep kids out of the picture. I decided that they added too much hassle and would 'get in the way' of what really seemed to matter to people and success.
Flash forward 10 years, and I have to admit I have a nice home, a couple of vehicles and no financial worries...yet those things have nothing to do with my definition of success anymore. I am realizing that business degrees, money, fame, houses, boats, jets...all that kind of 'stuff', while it can bring happiness and fun- it's all temporary. Oftentimes I have seen how bigger stuff and more things only adds to people's troubles. Things can bring more trouble than they do good- cars can break down or depreciate, jewelry can be lost or stolen, or fame can bring loneliness and heartbreak. You have to agree more stuff can simply add to the list of things that need more of one's time and attention. It can cause one to lose sight of what 'success' in life really consists of.
I am grateful, that although it didn't hit me at the time, that my defintion of success was 'shaken up a bit' when I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I thought my life was over for awhile. I had trouble surrendering my mind and body to the idea of having someone else call some of the shots in my life at that time. And really, I don't think it was Teagan- but God who was in control all along. I was headed down a different path, and He knew what was best for me
even though it didn't allign with what I had 'planned out' for my future.

I find myself, on almost any given day, thanking God for helping me to realize what really matters in life. I am grateful that I didn't get sucked into the belief that success is about what you have or get in life. Instead, I am learning and living that success is more about what I have to give away...the values and lessons and experiences that I can give to my kids and others around me. It's about sharing life and goodness and hope with people that might not otherwise get the chance at those 'things' in life. My success is feeling contentment with what I have- not in striving for things I see that other people have.
Yes, I have more than enough in my life, I am blessed beyond measure. But it's not because of the monetary worth of the things around me. It's because I have learned to define success in a new way. I am grateful for the everyday beauty in life, the ordinary that really isn't 'ordinary' in the least, and the belief that each moment I have is a gift. I am thankful, more than I thought I ever could be, as I live my simple life day to day.

9 comments:

Lisa Tanner said...

Wow - can you hear my applaudes all the way from down here in the south! I love your post today! We were very opposite in what we wanted in life - I wanted to be a mom - that's it. If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up - I would say a mom. But once that happened, I realized I could do more than just that. So now I want to teach and I'm almost there. It's funny how having a child can change two peoples life, both in a positive way, but in the opposite direction! :)

~JulieGirl~ said...

Hello Jody, would you mind emailing me your mailing address so i can send you a letter i hand wrote since im a little better print writting than typing.huertajulie@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Contentment can be so elusive! It's with the aging process...and maybe my faith too, that I've come to appreciate what I already have and that what I "thought" would make me happy is right in front of my eyes. The Lord actually has shown me this. I see so many that think about the "what if's"...'what if I were married THEN~~~", what if I had children, THEN~~~", what if I had __fill in the blank___THEN' I would be happy! The World tells us one thing but truly The World will not fill in that void in our soul. Thank you for this post!!!!!!

Jennifer McNeely said...

Wonderfully said - THINGS don't bring happiness. I see so many people striving for the cars and the big houses and the cottages on the lake, and you are right - it is not what you have as possessions that bring happiness. It is what is inside and the relationships you have. When people start to realize this, only then will they truly be happy.

Leah said...

Hi Jody, I've been reading your blog for quite awhile now, and it even inspired me to start scrapbooking. I was wondering if you could email me with a few of the scrapbooking "essentials", tools that you use all the time, etc. I'm trying to come up with some Christmas suggestions for my husband/parents and would love to get a few bigger scrapbooking tools that would help a lot. I'm especially interested in what you use for titles on your pages. Thanks so much! My email address is leahgeenen@gmail.com.

Rays Family said...

Beautiful pictures Jody! I happened upon your blog from another blog of a friend of mine. You are sure an inspiration to all of us. I have 5 sons, ranging from 19 to 8 and I know first hand the stuggles of life. Please know that you put a smile in my heart when I read your entries. Thanks again for the reminders that seems to slip our minds during a hectic life.

Anne

Anonymous said...

Great blog today Jody! Isn't it funny how we think we need all this stuff when really it's the simple things that give us joy. I am grateful for a God who doesn't just give me whatever I want, but only what He knows is best for me. I am glad to see that you are getting enjoyment out of the simple things. And the pictures turned out great! I loved them.

groovy said...

a great lesson learned...trying hard to share these lessons with my kids these days too--the idea that the more stuff they have the happier they'll be is all around, especially as the holiday season is upon us--and it's not just my kids but even myself who still need reminders of this--so thanks-beautiful pictures too--
elizabeth

Brown English Muffin said...

I'm in love with the first picture...I swear if you I knew you and your children I'd make the first pic the pictuer on my desktop!!! Shhh don't tell my dd she's on there right now!!

The first pic should be entered into a competition or something!!